The Last Sin
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
Most disputes concerning the meaning of the Scriptures are not due to a lack of trying when it comes to hermeneutics. They result from a lack of due process. By this, I do not mean the process of interpretation but the identification in the Scriptures of the processes of God.
An example would be the meaning of Christ’s words concerning the unpardonable sin, which have terrified many Christians unnecessarily. Blasphemy against the Spirit is unpardonable not because it is the worst sin. It is unpardonable because it is the last sin.
The structure of Jesus’ words is sacrificial. In this case we might think of it as an Ascension Offering, since the entire animal is consumed by God, who “comes down” in the holy fire to “see” what man has built. The Ethics of the Law are the heavens bowed down to the earth to sift and thresh and refine.
Because of this, I say to you, (Initiation)
Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men; (Delegation)
However, against the Spirit blasphemy
will not be forgiven. (Presentation)
it will not be forgiven him, (Vindication)
neither in this age nor the coming. (Representation)
However, in this knife-sharp stanza of Jesus, the sacrifice is not accepted because it is not offered in faith. Instead of a pleasing savor, the smell of resurrection (burial spices), there is the stink of corruption.
Notice the symmetry of the threefold Ethics. Blood, fire and smoke correspond to Priest, King and Prophet, the central ages of Israel’s history, Moses, David and Elijah. The prophet warns of the end of the Covenant era, when God is coming to judge Man’s works.
The first century Covenant history follows the same pattern: Christ ascends as High Priest, He sends the Spirit as holy fire to purify the Church, and the apostolic witness fills the house with smoke. Those who rejected Christ were forgiven, but those who rejected the Spirit of Pentecost became a house filled with demons. Pure fire makes the Bride. Strange fire makes the harlot.
It was the same with Israel in the wilderness. She was forgiven for the sin with the golden calf, spiritual harlotry. But God said He would visit her again for this sin. It was not over. In the book of Numbers, the same sin was committed but on a greater scale, but this rebellion with pagan gods and pagan women was not a “wandering astray.” This time it was high-handed, and it was the last straw, the last sin, for old Israel, the generation which came out of Egypt. The nation was threshed and the husks blown away.
Although the Revelation uses these examples to describe the sins of the Jewish leaders in the first century, Jesus uses the days of Noah, the “marrying and giving in marriage” with idolaters. The priestly line of Seth was united with the rebellious kingdom of Cain, rather than converting the rebels first. The fire in this case was the Spirit of God striving with Man, and His first “Trumpet,” His first warning, was to shorten the life spans of these wannabe-gods. It is interesting that the history from Adam to Noah is exactly the same shape as the original pattern in Eden, where Adam refused God’s Spirit and was denied the Tree of Life. This was the same sin played out on a global scale, and judged on a global scale.
After the Priesthood and Kingdom comes the Prophet. These roles would have been filled by three sons of Adam, but Cain killed Abel, so instead of “a third son,” Eve was given another “second son,” a replacement for Abel.  Despite the limited ministries of Seth and Enoch, the prophetic element was largely missing. There was no one to “unite the nations under God.” The only word on earth was the ex cathedra vengeance of Lamech, so it was time for a direct word from heaven. It was the call of Noah which filled the gap, a man whose faith had not only resulted in three sons, but in their marriages to godly women. This “Tabernacle” family was already a new beginning, a Garden Sanctuary (Noah and his wife as the “tablets” in the Most Holy), and a Holy Land (the three sons, the furniture in the Holy Place), so God called the courts of the Gentiles, but in an ironic fashion. It would be a reverse sacrifice. This time the lives of people who had followed Cain, rejecting any substitutionary priestly ministry and instead shedding human blood, as Cain did, spilling the blood of images of God, would be extinguished in the place of blameless animals.
The three level world was corrupted by Adam’s sin in the Sanctuary, theft from the Father; Cain’s sin against the son, murder of the brother; and blasphemy against the Spirit, the holy matchmaker. The “consumption” of true priesthood and true prophecy by a godless kingdom meant that the work of all persons of the Trinity had been rejected. This is what brought about the end of the first world.
Likewise, in Israel, which was itself a substitutionary “Land,” in relation to the Gentile “Sea,” both the righteous and the wicked were ready for harvest, as Jesus said. Sin against the Father (the Herodian theft of kingdom) and the Son (murder of Christ, as Abel) would be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit who tries the hearts was the end of the culture. The entire Land became a bronze Altar, with blood flowing up to the horses’ bridles. And Israel herself was incinerated in strange fire. Both the believing and unbelieving Jews were ground to powder, the first as fine flour, the second as a golden calf, the image of the beast.
Noah’s world and the world of the apostles are the bookends for Israel’s history. Tongues were scattered before the promises to Abraham, and tongues were united after the Ascension of His promised Seed. The common factor is Babel. There are three Babylons in Bible history. The first was priestly, a united “lip” or “confession” and a tower ascending to heaven. The second was kingly, the domain of Nebuchadnezzar and his wise men, the sun, moon and stars. The third Babel was born at Pentecost, through a rejection of the Spirit of God, hence the name-calling in Revelation. Just as the Spirit came to reunite a world divided in Abraham, so this third Babel was an “intermarriage” of iron and clay, the feet of the prophet who walks on the “Sea” and conquers the nations with his word. The harlot in the Revelation is not merely the end of Israel, but the end of the entire “Social” order begun “in the days of Noah.”
Worse, all the crimes in the last days of the Old Covenant were committed in a society saturated in the Scriptures and the witness of the saints. This means the sin was “high-handed,” committed not merely by the leaders but by the people in full knowledge of the Words of God. This is what Jesus had in mind when He warned against blasphemy, and it seems He had Numbers 15:30 in mind:
But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
Moreover, this what the author of Hebrews had in mind when he spoke of those who had been “enlightened” yet were now themselves crucifying the Son of God once again through the murder of His prophets. Their sin against Christ had been revealed to them by the Spirit as it had been through the preaching of Peter, but these people had not repented. They saw their faces in a glass and turned away. Then they filled up their sins through the shedding of righteous blood and brought down vengeance. In the minds of the godless, the Scriptures and the Church are always condemned as the source of all our problems. The preacher is the one who “troubles Israel.”
Our culture is breaking free, as Israel did, that it might reach its full potential, a ripeness for judgment. Paul’s threefold “God gave them up” can be clearly discerned.  The rejection and distortion of marriage in Western culture is a “consumption” of the Priestly and Prophetic roles of the Church. As it was in the first century, infanticide is rife, Covenants are despised, and the words of men are hailed as the words of gods.
As always this is a blessing as well as a curse. The good news is that, once again, this is not the end. The last sin is what separates the idolaters from the faithful, that God might minister the flaming Levite sword, or the spear of Phinehas. The last sin is always the herald of a new beginning, for both the righteous and for the wicked. While the righteous are refined, the wicked are consumed. Like Noah, like Elijah, and like Jesus and His apostles, we have the prophetic Spirit, and we know what is coming. By the Spirit of Christ, may our testimony be a pleasing savor.